Whether you’re a newbie in the kitchen or you’re a whiz like Nigella, there are a few spices that no kitchen should be without. Not only do spices add incredible flavour to dishes, but certain ones can also boost your metabolism, benefit your complexion and help your body burn more fat.
With this in mind, we turned to celebrity chef, nutritionist and the founder of the Falling in Love with Food cookbook and 8-week food program, Zoe Bingley-Pullin, and asked her for five must-have spices for autumn. We also got her to share some ideas for easy ways to incorporate them into a meal. She came back with some useful information and some delicious-sounding dishes. Read on for the scoop!
Cinnamon is a very popular spice and recently has gained more attention for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects. It’s a warming spice, which has been traditionally used to support circulation, making it the perfect addition to an autumn diet. Cinnamon can be used in sweet and savoury cooking and is the perfect topping on a bowl of warming porridge or added to a spiced homemade tomato sauce.
Turmeric is famous for its golden colour and anti-inflammatory benefits. Not to mention, the active compound within turmeric, curcumin, has also been traditionally used for its anti-oxidative, anti-microbial and anti-viral effects. Turmeric pairs well with other warming spices including ginger and cinnamon.
Fenugreek is a bitter spice studied for its blood sugar lowering effects. It also has high fibre content and its seeds can be made into a warming tea. This spice is a lovely addition to curries and pilaf’s, alongside other spices such as cumin and coriander. It’s best purchased as a whole seed and ground up as needed.
Sumac is a deep purple colour with a tangy taste and is well know for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It pairs well with seafood or can be used in a spice mix alongside dried oregano, chilli and cumin. Be warned: A little bit goes a long way when it comes to using sumac in cooking.
Saffron comes from the flowers of Crocus sativus and is famous for its ability to turn food a vibrant golden colour. Aesthetics aside, saffron may offer many benefits to ones health including anti-inflammatory effects. And more recently, it has been studied for its role in supporting a healthy mood. It has a subtle flavour and goes well in in both sweet and savoury cooking. I think it’s a great addition to autumn soups, casseroles and slow cooked dishes.